‘Fandango at the Wall’ film, shot in Tijuana, San Diego and Veracruz, to debut on HBO

Arturo O’Farrill (right) and Jorge Castillo hug after the 2018 "Fandango at the Wall" concert.
Arturo O’Farrill (right) and Jorge Castillo hug after the 2018 “Fandango at the Wall” concert on the Tijuana side of the U.S.-Mexico border. The concert is featured in a new documentary film that debuts Friday on HBO Latino.
(Photo by David Garten)

The documentary, executive produced by Quincy Jones and Carlos Santana, premieres on HBO Latino and will have five subsequent broadcasts


The coronavirus pandemic has slowed and changed the trajectory of the borders-leaping music documentary “Fandango at the Wall,” which features a 2018 concert at the U.S.-Mexico border. The film, whose March 12 opening night at the 27th annual San Diego Latino Film Festival was postponed — along with the festival itself — will have its belated debut Friday at 8 p.m. when it premieres on HBO Latino and streams on HBO Max.

The 93-minute documentary was shot in Tijuana, San Diego and the Mexican port city of Veracruz. It was inspired by the now 13-year-old Fandango Fronterizo festival, which is held concurrently on the Tijuana side of the U.S.-Mexico border and at San Diego’s adjacent Friendship Park.

The festival was founded by Jorge Castillo, a retired Chula Vista librarian who now lives in Tijuana. Fandango Fronterizo celebrates son jarocho, a 300-year-old string music tradition from Veracruz that fuses indigenous Mexican, Spanish and African styles. The festival’s 2018 edition was expanded with the addition of Grammy Award-winning Latin Jazz band leader Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, plus guest musicians from Mexico, the U.S. and the Middle East.

“We want to not only end political borders, but the borders between different musics, races and philosophies that we carry between ourselves,” Castillo said in a March Union-Tribune interview.

Directed by London native Varda Bar-Kar, “Fandango at the Border” was executive-produced by music legend Quincy Jones, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, best-selling author Kabir Sehgal and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Carlos Santana, a former Tijuana resident.

The film is the latest manifestation of the 2018 concert, which also yielded the two-CD album, “Fandango at the Wall: A Soundtrack for the United States, Mexico and Beyond,” and a subsequent book and CD, “Fandango at the Wall: Creating Harmony Between the United States and Mexico.”

Friday’s debut airing of “Fandango at the Wall” on HBO Latino will be followed by repeat showings on the same channel at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, 11:15 p.m. on Tuesday, 12:35 pm. on Oct. 10, 8 p.m. on Oct. 15 and 4:55 p.m. on Oct. 21.